Webinar: Disability and Organizational Culture

 

audio version (opens in a new tab)

 

Introduction

This week, I summarize a webinar presentation by an organization whose webinars I have not summarized for a while. The organization is the

FISA Foundation

I previously summarized one of their webinars in April 2021. That blog post was

“Webinar: Cultural Humility”.

On October 28, 2021, I virtually attended FISA Foundation’s webinar “Race, Disability, Organizational Culture, and Social Change”. I was unable to locate presentation materials or recording at time of writing this blog post. I recommend that my readers check FISA’s

“RACE + DISABILITY upcoming programs”

Page in the future. In this article, I will summarize and reflect on what I learned.

 

One of the topics during the presentation is independent living for people with disabilities. That is the primary subject in this blog post because my blog is disability-focused. The first presenter is currently Executive Director of the

National Council on Independent Living.

The second presenter is Executive Director of the

Topeka Independent Living Resource Center.

Presentation 1: Independent Living, An Overview

The first presenter provided an overview of independent living. The independent living movement came about in the middle of the 20th century. This philosophy and movement states that people with disability need control over their own lives. This means that society needs to accommodate people with disabilities. To help make this goal achievable, Centers for Independent Living (CILs) exist across the country. CILs can provide useful resources and services.

 

Centers for Independent Living Explained

CILs emphasize peer mentoring. This means CIL staff tend to be people with disabilities who help others.

The first presenter then emphasized that when providing independent living services, it is important to consider other identities which a person with disability may have. The second presenter then provided her perspective.

 

Presenter 2: Equity

The CIL Director from Kansas stated she focuses on disability advocacy rights because all people with disabilities deserve equal access. She stated that people need to have an avenue to express concerns. The disability rights movement has recognized equity issues for a variety of people. The presenter made clear that people from various identities can have different experiences. It was also suggested to consider organizational culture with the goal of equity for everyone. People with disabilities are sometimes not taken into consideration when developing policies or modifying a building. Her ultimate emphasis was the importance of considering people from a diverse perspective.

 

Blake’s Reflections

The key take-away for me was the importance of society considering intersectionality. It is my understanding that intersectionality means considering various identities of an individual. The presenters made clear that society does not always consider intersectionality. I was surprised to learn this because U.S. federal laws have been passed to make equality possible. Example: The Americans with Disabilities Act. As an individual who is blind, how someone looks is irrelevant. What matters to me is a person’s character. Based on what I heard from the two presenters, apparently society as a whole does not share my perspective. Bottom line: It is important to consider all aspects of a person and provide equality whenever possible.

 

Questions for Readers

What strategies do you recommend to encourage diversity? I will return with another article.

 

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